Stay-at-home Mothers versus Working Mothers
A stay-at-home mother is a married woman that chooses not to work so she can stay at home to raise the children. She also maintains the cleanliness of the home while preparing meals daily. Working mothers are employed outside of the home to help provide supplementary income. They also sustain responsibility within the home. There are many differences between stay-at-home mothers and working mothers.
For some, the reason to be a stay-at-home mother is lack of good childcare options, while others it’s the desire to be the one attending to your child’s day-to-day needs. They value the chance to share their child’s developmental accomplishments. The work of a stay-at-home mother is repetitive and limitless. Although stay-at-home moms often complain about extensive hours of housework, the importance of knowing they’re in charge of their child’s care is guaranteed peace of mind. According to Aulette (2010), “since the housework is unpaid, the work is devalued; furthermore the workers who perform the unpaid housework are devalued and have low social status” (Ch. 7, p. 167).
Three different groups decide why working mothers entered the work force. Those groups are supply side, demand side, and social structure (Aulette, 2010, Ch. 6, p. 141). The quantity of women available to work outside the home amplified placing pressure on the labor market to open jobs for women. Careers such as nurse, beautician, and teacher have been a high demand for women so they can become employed. Improved birth control and increased lifespan are two features of social structure that have been acknowledged as main factors in relation to the increasing number of women in the work force.
Carrying out the role of a stay at home mom, leaves many women susceptible to the beginning of depression because they have few interactions with adults, an inadequate standard of living and fewer inspirations of intellect than a woman or man with a job outside the home. A depressed state of mind is sad and gloomy. “However, alternative explanation can account for the frequency among depressed housewives” (Spendlove, Gavelok, & MacMurray, 1981). Women with certain types of personalities often appeal to dependent roles of a house mom and to the misery linked with that dependent role. Another explanation is that the stay-at-home mom mimics behavior displayed by her mother or other women.
“Research shows that employed mothers have higher self-esteem and less depression than housewives, but they also have more anxiety” (Aulette, 2010, Ch. 7, p. 176). Working mothers have higher self-esteem and low depression spills because they are getting paid for their work which results in them feeling a level of appreciation. A number of benefits boost a working mother’s insight about herself. Those benefits are participation in physical activity, weight loss, and positive self-esteem which results in better moods (Nolan & Surujal, 2010, p. 10). Most women are working demanding jobs, managing the home and taking care of their kids. All of these responsibilities create stress which then leads to anxiety. Physical stress can include dieting and/or skipping meals, consuming too much sugar and caffeine, illness, and not getting enough sleep.
Independent leisure is not a familiar word to a stay-at-home mother. Since their work is never done, time to them is scarce. Vacations are often spent as a family. Most stay-at-home mothers do not have a babysitter since they are their child’s main childcare provider. They have their husbands to watch their child but most of them feel their job is over once they are home. Rest is the requested downtime for stay-at-home mothers.
Leisure is a little different for a working mother. They have an opportunity to spend some time alone if they get off early; a benefit of having a babysitter. Most working mothers spend their leisure with their husbands. Williamson (2009) says “the anecdotal evidence from the interviews shows it was becoming more common for married couples to spend leisure time together and this was especially so in the post-war period” (p. 15). If she does not spend time with her husband, she may have martial problems. Some women were not happy to accept the orders of their husband but chose to use tactics which they hoped would elude an argument. Some started lying in order to carry on with leisure activities.
There a number of proficiencies to being a stay-at-home mother. Firsthand view of the child’s important milestones is a big factor to a stay-at-home mother. Children that do not attend daycare are less likely to get sick. The constant care from their mother builds trust for the child and confidence for the mother. Stay-at-home mothers are able to put their child in a routine faster.
Being able to provide more for their child is a large proficiency for working mothers. With the child in daycare, the working mother is able to rely on someone else if she needs to. Children in daycare are prone to get sick faster however their immune system builds stronger. Working mothers are able to help their child build social skills by having them in daycare. Children also get the extra exposure to people and things while their mother is at work.
The differences between stay-at-home and working mothers are endless. There is no comparison in the two jobs. Some may say one job is harder than the other. Motherhood is a full time job all by itself not including outside work and taking care of the house. Stay-at-home mothers have the advantage of watching their child grow whereas an advantage of a working mother is helping with the income.
References Aulette, J.R. Changing American families (3rd ed). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Chapters 6 & 7. Nolan, V. & Surujal, J.J. (2010). Participation in physical activity: An empirical study of working women’s perceptions. African Journal For Physical, Health Education, Recreation & Dance, 16(3), 355-372. Sidle, S.D. (2011). Career Track or Mommy Track: How Do Women Decide?. Academy of Management Perspectives, 25(2), 77-79. Spendlove, D.C., Gavelok, J.R. & MacMurray, V. (1981).
Learned helplessness and the depressed housewife. Social Work, 26(6), 477-479. Williamson, M. (2009). Gender, Leisure and Marriage in a Working-Class Community, 1939-1960. Labour History Review (Maney Publishing), 74(2), 185-198.